Zardari in ‘last-ditch’ effort to end impasse, save democracy

* Former president phones Imran Khan; forms Kaira-led team for negotiations * PPP CEC calls upon all three parties to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue

KARACHI: Former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday rang up Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and discussed with him the ongoing political deadlock. 
According to sources, Imran Khan and Asif Zardari exchanged views on possible ways to end the impasse. Zardari told Imran that he had formed a committee of senior PPP leaders. Sources add that Qamar Zaman Kaira will head the committee, which has been assigned to meet the PTI chairman and persuade him to end the deadlock. Last week Imran had said that he would only talk to Kaira from the PPP.
Zardari also telephoned Awami Muslim League Chairman Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and urged him to press Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri for talks. Speaking to a private TV channel, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that Zardari rang him and stressed the need to resolve the prevailing political stalemate through dialogue. He said that Zardari asked him to help find a middle ground to end the political deadlock. “I told Zardari that it is too late now,” Rashid said. The PPP leader said that if the stakeholders do not take the course of negotiation, the situation would deteriorate more.
A meeting of the PPP central executive committee was held on Monday at the Bilawal House, Karachi. The meeting was jointly presided by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. It called upon the PTI, PAT and the PML-N to be patient, exercise restraint and engage in meaningful and result-oriented dialogues, saying that is the only way to end an impasse in a democratic system. It called upon the three parties to shun egoism, show accommodation and work for a solution within the constitution. It cautioned that the responsibility of any derailment of the democratic system due to such policies shall lie with the PTI, PAT and PML-N. The PPP CEC warned against dismantling of the democratic process, abrasion of the constitution or any deviation from the constitutional path in any form or manifestation, saying it will not be allowed.

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